Right now I’m on this kick of “Create, Create, Create. Produce, Produce, Produce.”
My stories aren’t as good as I wish they were. They aren’t as good as I know they can be. BUT over the past year I have improved. I’m moving the right direction at a turtle’s pace.
I have such respect for people who take a bunch of nothing and make it into something. I want to be one of those people.
This is the 2nd year in a row that I’ve purposely practiced the art of “don’t re-read what you wrote.”
I used to write a story, and then obsess over it for months, editing and perfecting. Now as soon as I finish, I move on to the next one. Create, Create, Create.
Ira Glass is the host and producer of This American Life. His quote about becoming an artist, about creativity and working hard… This has been the MOST influential idea for me – out of anything – throughout the past year.
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
“But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”